Getting to know...Rickey Madden
Rickey Madden already had 26 years of teaching under his belt when he arrived at Wofford this month to teach marketing. Speaking of his belt, It has been known on occasion to hold up “yellow or sometimes even cranberry corduroy britches.” And when it gets colder, his colorful outfits might be topped by a fedora or a Sherlock Holmes deer stalker hat. You see, Madden’s usual mild mannered appearance hides an inner “Mad Man of Marketing,” a nickname he earned at Presbyterian College when a student nominated him for Teacher of the Year.
“This student said, ‘You just never know what’s going to come out of his mouth next,’” laughs Madden. “There’s a good reason for that…I don’t even know what’s going to come out of my mouth next.”
If it’s in the classroom, chances are it will be something of great value. Madden’s resume is impressive. He got his B.S. degree in business and economics from Erskine College, his MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1983 (ask him about the night the Tar Heels won the national championship in basketball while he was there), and his Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Georgia. He has taught at Erskine, Georgia, Catawba College, Georgia Southwestern State University, Gardner-Webb University and Presbyterian before coming to Wofford.
“In my 27 years, I’ve taught mostly at small, liberal arts colleges,” he says. “I spent three years at a state university but other than that it’s been places like Wofford. The main reason I came here was the opportunity to be at a school with high standards and good students within a liberal arts environment. It was just a great opportunity for me to come here. I tell my students I’m here until I die or retire, whichever comes first.”
Madden thinks the students at Wofford are more motivated than students are at most places he has seen. That goes for the teachers as well.
“Wofford is committed to teaching,” he says. “Some colleges are putting more and more emphasis on research. Don’t get me wrong, research is important, but I don’t think it’s as important as teaching, especially at smaller liberal arts schools. Research is supported and celebrated here, but it’s not emphasized as much as teaching and service to the college.”
What does Madden do when he’s not teaching?
“I love gardening, although right now I’m sort of in limbo with that as I’m trying to sell a house in Clinton, which is like trying to pull a camel through a needle’s eye,” he says. “I used to enjoy playing golf badly, which is the only way to see the whole course and get your money’s worth. I guess one of the things I’ve started enjoying as I’ve gotten a little older is UNC basketball. I love my Tar Heels and bleed Carolina blue.
“I also enjoy reading and cooking. I’ve won a few cooking contests, and actually mulled over going to culinary school a couple of times, but then I thought the better of it.”
And his number one guilty pleasure? He’s a java junkie.
“God, I love coffee,” says Madden. “My motto is, 'Life’s too short to drink bad coffee.' I believe that if I’m a good person, there will be Starbucks in heaven. And if I’m not, there’ll be Folgers in hell."
He's in coffee lover's purgatory right now.
"Commuting from Clinton, I’m not getting as much coffee as I used to, and I can feel my body atrophying. I was drinking two, maybe even three pots a day. Now I’m having withdrawals.”